Our Featured Member synagogue for March 2008 is Temple B'nai Abraham, a Conservative congregation in Beverly. We are pleased to recognize the synagogue in honor of its 100th anniversary.
In the summer of 1897, Nicholas and Bessie Zelinsky made their way from Boston to the wood frame house at 71 Park Street in Beverly. There they would start their small business and unwittingly plant the seeds for a synagogue community that today numbers over 200 families. By 1905, fifteen Jewish families had settled in Beverly. As the number of Jewish families increased, it soon became apparent that there was a need for a synagogue and Hebrew School in the city. As 1907 drew to a close, the Beverly Lodge, Independent Order of B'rith Abraham was formed, and from it the congregation, known as the Sons of Abraham, was organized. By 1911, the newly completed synagogue on Bow Street was formally dedicated with ceremonies that brought feelings of pride to the whole community. In 1937, Rabbi Meyer Finkelstein -- the first ordained rabbi to serve the congregation -- would stay at the Bow Street synagogue for the next eight years, and during that time, see the congregation through the most trying period in its history.
In 1945, the building at 37 Bow Street would become a pile of scorched timbers, ravaged by a fire that struck on a cold winter's night. The synagogue was destroyed. The congregation, however, survived, and on September 7, 1947, a bigger and better Community Center was dedicated, a tribute to the untiring efforts of the entire community. The land on East Lothrop Street, the current site of our synagogue, was acquired in 1960 and groundbreaking ceremonies took place on May 7, 1961. The completed building was dedicated on September 14, 1962 and named Temple B'nai Abraham.
Several years ago the congregation located the cornerstone of the old Bow Street synagogue and rededicated it on the East Lothrop Street grounds. This dedication comes not in the form of carving out a community as our predecessors did, but in maintaining our synagogue heritage and building on it by revering and practicing the traditions of our faith, and providing a warm and welcome place where the Jews of the North Shore feel at home. The history of the Greater Beverly Jewish Community is one of perseverance, dedication and tireless effort. May it serve as an inspiration to all who dedicate themselves to this congregation.
For further information call the synagogue office at 978-927-3211 or visit us at http://www.templebnaiabraham.com/.
200 East Lothrop Street